To Doug Schneider,
I had a lengthy audition of a pair of Paradigm Founder Series 100F loudspeakers at K&W Audio in Calgary, and thought I would share my impressions. They were being driven by a 300Wpc McIntosh MC312 [stereo amplifier]. They’re pretty much superior in every way to my Studio 100 v5 speakers—as they should be, for the price. Some things stood out for me: breadth of soundstage and imaging; smoother, more resolving treble; midrange clarity and articulation; and tight, full bass, down to 30Hz at least.
I started off with Loreena McKennitt’s “The Lady of Shalott” to gauge female vocals, and immediately got goosebumps. This track sounds great on the Studios too, but the Founders were definitely next-level: broader, deeper soundstage, and much more clarity and detail in her voice. My Studios have been knocked for having harsh, overly bright treble, which I think is overly critical, but the top end of the Founders is definitely a big improvement.
I moved on to Wynton Marsalis’s In Gabriel’s Garden, tracks 30–32, to check out trumpet and orchestra. Trumpet was accurate, clean, and authoritative; orchestra seemed a tad warm, but I’m not sure if that was the recording, the amp, or the speakers. I didn’t notice it as much on other recordings.
I finished up with track 12 of the SACD of Music for Organ, Brass and Timpani, “The Great Gate of Kiev,” to give the Founders a workout. I was particularly curious to see if they could do a better job of reproducing the most challenging passages in this track, as things can get a bit muddy on my Studios. They didn’t disappoint—they were much cleaner and more articulate, and every timpani thwack, even in the loudest and densest passage, was clearly audible. I expect the McIntosh was helping with this, as its 300Wpc definitely out-muscles the 200Wpc Emotiva XPA-5 Gen2 amp that I’m driving my Studios with. Nonetheless, I think the Founders are significantly more resolving and capable of playing dense, full-range music loudly than the Studios are. They were definitely rolling off below 30Hz, but that’s to be expected. Anyone wanting to reproduce deep pipe-organ notes will be crossing over to a sub in that range, or will spring for the Founder 120H loudspeakers if they want to run strictly two-channel.
Anyhow, I thought I’d share my impressions and I look forward to your full review.
Thanks for the update! I’ve completed most of my listening to the pair of Founder 100Fs that I have in for review, but I still have to photograph them and take them to Canada’s National Research Council to be measured. But my full review should be published fairly soon.